One Unsung Viking Quietly Returned to the Field This Week

TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minnesota. August 3rd, 2023. The Vikings kicked off the annual night practice in front of a packed house, preparing to defend the NFC North title. Minnesota hasn't won back-to-back NFC North crowns since 2008 and 2009.

On August 1st, Minnesota Vikings wideout Trishton Jackson fell injured in Eagan at Vikings training camp, and it felt like the team’s first nasty injury of the 2023 season had arrived.

The mood was described as ‘somber’ that day, as players feared the worst for Jackson, who is vying for a 53-man roster spot.

One Unsung Viking Quietly Returned to the Field This Week

Fast forward to this week, and Jackson is pulling off wizardry like this as if he never missed any time at all:

It’s safe to say the 25-year-old is all the way back.

Viking Quietly Returned
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Trishton Jackson (9) reacts after a reception in the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Jackson was carted off that Tuesday, so it seemed his injury would linger beyond a couple of weeks. But that was not the case, evidently hampered by a sprain that was initially more spooky than necessary.

Jackson hasn’t quite caught on for a roster spot through three seasons in the league. An undrafted free agent with the Rams in 2020, Jackson stayed on Los Angeles’ depth chart for about a year and a half before eventually landing with the Vikings in 2021. He’s impressed back-to-back Vikings coaching staffs and general managers.

Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Trishton Jackson (9) at TCO Performance Center. 2022 Minnesota Vikings training camp. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

This summer, though, Jackson has a puncher’s chance to make the 53-man roster on August 29th, a hypothesis that can remain intact with his speedy return to the field. He’s vying for roster space among WR5 candidates like Jalen Reagor, Brandon Powell, N’Keal Harry, and Blake Proehl. And none of those men is overly formidable, at least per 53-man roster positioning. Reagor joined the Vikings via trade late last summer but underwhelmed in 2022. Powell arrived this offseason via free agency and is conducting a marvelous training camp; he may be difficult to dethrone for a roster spot. Harry is a former 1st-Rounder newcomer. Proehl is working his way back from injuries, so WR5 is a horse race.

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Trishton Jackson (9) eyes the goal line after being tackled by Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Darius Phillips (20) during a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, Jordan Addison, and Jalen Nailor have the first four WR spots all but locked up.

The Vikings play their second preseason this Saturday night against the Tennessee Titans at U.S. Bank Stadium. Jackson is expected to play as Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell rests ‘well-established’ starters during the preseason. That means Jefferson and Osborn won’t play, plus Addison is in the concussion protocol. Jackson, and his teammates, Reagor, Powell, Proehl, and Harry, have a chance to really hold down the fort.

Aug 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Trishton Jackson (83) warms up before the game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports.

Jackson caught 66 passes for 1,023 yards and 11 touchdowns in his final season at Syracuse four years ago.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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